For the most part, rifles and how they are used have remained unchanged for well over 100 years. The platforms have certainly improved, as has ammunition, scopes, sights and everything else related to the process. Even as we’ve moved into the digital age, little has really changed in the basic design of a centerfire rifle. Scopes have become clearer and include illuminated, ranging reticles and even rangefinders. While this is all convenient, it’s still not integrated with the rifle. The scope remains a separate tool the shooter uses in conjunction with the rifle. Integrating the two would seem a natural progression. It certainly has been for artillery and other larger systems in order to accurately place a shell on target—even while traveling at 70 mph. Could the same thing be done with a simple rifle? Well, it looks like you can. TrackingPoint has built a system that provides about as much integration as possible short of having the rifle take the shot for you. The technology is amazing, and its future applications are limitless. Initially geared towards the high-end hunting and safari market, with some refinement, it has some interesting future applications in the tactical world.
TrackingPoint refers to its innovation as the XactSystem Precision Guided Firearm. I recently gave the system a try at Gunsite Academy in Arizona, and I’m inclined to agree. While not a fly-by-wire system, it helps maintain control over the actual trigger press and ensures proper hits. Through the integration of state-of-the-art technology, the XactSystem reads distance, angle, atmospheric conditions and a few other things. Once completed, the shooter “tags” the target by pressing a button, activating the targeting laser. The only thing you need to “read” is the wind. The wind reading is entered into the scope, and final calculations are completed. Holding the crosshairs on the target, you press the trigger and hold. Once the system determines everything is precisely lined up, it allows the rifle to fire.
For those able to afford safaris or high-end hunting expeditions, this system provides a level of certainty in taking game unheard of to date. And it explains why large hunting ranges all over the world have purchased the first rifles. Along with the targeting, the TrackingPoint system allows the shooter to observe exactly what he or she is doing through an iPad provided with the system…